Nintendo CEO Satoru Iwata has said many times in the past that he intends to use mobile devices like smart phones and tablets to his company’s advantage, but not by releasing video games. This stance has apparently changed, as Iwata has announced that Nintendo is partnering up with Japanese company DeNA to make “aggressive” use of smart devices as a game platform. DeNA, known for its free-to-play games, and Nintendo “will jointly develop and operate gaming applications for smart devices in global markets.”
Iwata first met DeNA President Isao Moriyasu in 2010, and Mr. Moriyasu has been “very passionate” about collaborating with Nintendo ever since. Although Iwata has seemed against putting Nintendo games on smart devices in the past, he now says he was waiting for a time when Nintendo was ready to create products that were both high quality (as is Nintendo’s standard) and “ever-evolving,” and with DeNA’s help, he believes this can be done in a way that will attract hundreds of millions of customers.
So what kinds of games can we expect Nintendo to release? Which franchises will we see? Iwata has explained that any Nintendo IP is eligible, but all mobile games created with DeNA will be new experiences, not ports of existing games.
“As for which Nintendo IP will be used, we do not intend to make any exceptions. Potentially, any Nintendo IP could be used in our smart device software. On the other hand, as I just said, games on smart devices require ever-evolving services rather than just being a finished product. A combined effort will be necessary to operate them. People’s attention would only be dispersed if we simply increased the number of the titles we simultaneously released, and we could not expect to expand our business. Accordingly, we will narrow down the titles for development and operation to some extent.
“Please also note that, even if we use the same IP on our dedicated video game systems and smart devices, we will not port the titles for the former to the latter just as they are. There are significant differences in the controls, strengths and weaknesses between the controllers for dedicated game systems and the touchscreens of smart devices. We have no intention at all to port existing game titles for dedicated game platforms to smart devices because if we cannot provide our consumers with the best possible play experiences, it would just ruin the value of Nintendo’s IP.
“And, if I can talk a bit further about our game development plan, we will continue doing our best to develop dedicated game titles for our dedicated game hardware platforms just as we have been doing. For smart devices, even in the case where we utilize the same IP, we will create completely new game software that will perfectly match the play styles of smart devices.
“As for the details of the game applications for smart devices, we will make the announcements on other occasions. I hope you will look forward to our future announcements.”
— Satoru Iwata
What do you think of Nintendo’s new mobile gaming plan and partnership? What characters and franchises would you like to see come to mobile devices? Sound off in the comments!